| A one-horned rhino in its habitat
March 19: After a gap of three long years, the Central Zoo Authority (CZA) has given its nod to the first-ever animal exchange plan of the Assam state zoo with a foreign counterpart — the Thailand Zoological Park Organisation.
The plan was mooted in 2004 after two officials of the state zoo visited Dusit and Khekhow zoos in Thailand and discussed the idea of animal exchange. The two had visited Thailand to attend a training programme. The Thailand Zoological Park Organisation had also presented a draft memorandum to the officials.
“The CZA has given the green signal after examining the proposal from both sides,” said its member secretary B.R. Sharma, who was in the city to attend a two-day meeting on initiating conservation breeding in endemic endangered species in the region.
The meeting ended yesterday.
He said many issues had to be considered before giving the clearance to an animal exchange plan, especially when it is with a foreign zoo, and hence the process took so much time.
Under the animal exchange plan, the state zoo will hand over a male rhino and receive two clouded leopards, five orang-utans, one stump-tailed macaque and three binturongs.
The only hitch was over giving away a rhino, since it is the state animal, but the zoo finally agreed to do so after considering all related issues, said an official of the zoo.
At the meeting, the CZA also gave the state zoo the responsibility to initiate conservation breeding of golden langur, serow and sun bear.
Officials from the various zoos across the region were present at the meeting, which discussed various issues related to conservation breeding. They also suggested tips to improve the state zoo.
Since the state zoo does not have a sun bear, the Central Zoo Authority has agreed to help it procure one from another zoo.